Leaving your child under the care of another person is one of the hardest decisions you’ll have to make as a parent.

(I’m not even talking about the decision to go back to work or not.  I’m not talking about feelings that come up around not wanting to go back to work but having to financially or feeling guilty about loving your job and looking forward to getting back to work after your maternity leave.  Or, quite frankly, the confusion you feel when you encounter all of these feelings all at once!)

 

Once you know that you will have to leave your in the care of someone else, it is a hard choice and a lot of work to get it sorted out.  I have been a parent for 3 and a half years, and we have already run the gamete of care options for our children including;

A family member watching our children

A small in-home daycare

A nanny

A larger daycare facility

A nanny-share

Each situation has its pros and cons and I truly believe each family’s situation is different and requires an individual decision.

Currently, my older son goes to an amazing in-home preschool program 3 days a week and we have a nanny share for my young daughter.  I have to say, I really love our set-up right now!

Recently, two separate friends asked about our nanny share situation and how it works.  I thought I would share my thoughts on the pros and cons of our arrangement here.  Now of course, this is just my experience.

Definition: I have heard the word nanny share defined two different ways; 1) two children from different families under the care of one nanny at the same time at one family’s home, or 2) two families sharing one nanny on different days and times so the nanny has a full time work schedule, but each family only has part time care.

I am talking about the first situation here.

Here are some of the pros and cons of sharing a nanny:


PROS

Financial– This is what originally drew me to the idea of a nanny share.  Each family pays the nanny a lower hourly rate (than if she was just watching one baby), but the nanny is able to make a total hourly rate that is higher than if she was just watching one child.  This exact price is going to vary from location to location, but we pay about 40% less than the going rate for one child.

More one-on-one care than a day care– Because there are only 2 babies, they get a little more attention than if they were in a larger care situation.  I also found that since most daycares charge a flat day rate, and I didn’t need a full day, what I pay the nanny per day is the same if not a little less than what I paid at  the daycare.

Socialization– I truly believe the babies know each other and really like when they get to ‘play’ with each other.  When Rylan’s little friend shows up, she is all smiles and gets excited to see her! And even at a young age, they are getting hands on learning with sharing, patience and other social skills.

Building a relationship with a nanny- We LOVE our nanny and it is so great to have someone we can call for other childcare needs.  Even though she doesn’t care for my older son on a regular basis, He LOVES her too (he sees her in the morning before he leaves for preschool and she always spends time playing with him too).  So when we do need someone to watch the kids, she knows them, they know her, she knows our house, the kids routines; it makes the whole thing so much easier.

Household help– While the babies sleep, our nanny has some free time to fold some laundry or unload the dishwasher.  I LOVE coming home to a happy baby AND an empty kitchen sink.


CONS

Two sets of parents/parenting styles-  We are incredibly lucky that the family we share with is very similar to us.  We have similar views on parenting and the same overall guidelines for the nanny.  It would be tricky if one of us wanted the nanny to do something and the other didn’t.  I think it is important that you get along with the other family (or at least the two parents who are heading up the care arrangements)

Scheduling with TWO other people– When you are looking for a nanny share, you not only have to find a nanny that can accommodate your schedule, but the other family has to need your same situation.  This may not be to hard if you need full time care, but if you need part-time care, you have to find a family AND a nanny that can also do that part-time schedule.

Coordinating vacations, sick time, etc– Again, this is another good reason you get along with the other parent in your share.  And, more importantly, you spell out conditions ahead of time.  What happens if one of the kids is sick?  Does that child still come and possibly infect the other child?  Who is responsible for paying?  What if one family goes on vacation?  Do they pay for the time they are missing?  In our share, we agree to pay the nanny our scheduled rate each week regardless of illness, vacation etc.

Less one-on-one time than a nanny- One of my friends already has a nanny for her daughter, and a friend of hers wants to bring her own daughter those days.  Going from having a one-on-one nanny to sharing, means less individualized time for that child.  For this family it also means no out of the house excursions (like to the children’s museum or swimming), as the nanny did not feel comfortable (or have carseats) for 2 kids.

House Prep Time– When you are taking your kids somewhere else for care, you can leave your house in whatever condition you want.  When someone else is bringing their child to YOUR house, you have to make sure it is clean and safe.  That means a nightly pick-up and making sure there are no lego pieces or piles of dog hair around.  (But, it does force you to keep you house in order!)

Finding a family to share with (and the nanny!)– This is the last tricky part.  Again, we were lucky in our share that the moms already knew each other, and both have flexible work schedules.  I also already knew the nanny via a recommendation from my preschool teacher and had already had her babysit for us on numerous occasions.  If you are looking for a share family, or a nanny or both; start by talking with friends or other parents, someone knows a family or a nanny looking for the same situation.

What are your experiences with a nanny share?  What are your pros and cons?

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